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UK Letter:Regrading Drug is Disaster

Alun Buffry

Evening News, Norwich

Tuesday 03 Feb 2009

As a supporter of the Legalise Cannabis Alliance, I feel that we should warn the many thousands of cannabis users in Norwich that our Government has defied its own efforts and will be raising cannabis from Class C to Class B next week.

The Government-appointed committee, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) has for the third time stated that in their expert opinion cannabis should not be put into class B of the Misuse of Drugs Act.

However, Gordon Brown, who has mistakenly referred to some of the stronger versions of cannabis as "lethal" , Jacqui Smith et al, have decided to ignore that advice and go with the scare-mongers in order to try to win more votes.

The recent downfall in the number of cannabis users that followed downgrading to class C, has also been ignored. Maybe the Government want to see an increase.

The real effect of this will be an increase in maximum sentence for possession to 5 years in prison - the maximum sentence for cultivation, production or supply will remain at 14 years.

In other words, the only difference will be to cannabis users - whether they say it is medicinal or recreational or religious: and we are talking about users who have done no harm or posed no threat to anyone. Obviously people who harm others are punishable under other laws.

And of course the police who originally wanted downgrading to enable them to focus more on class A and B drugs, will now find themselves once again arresting cannabis users. Once again the courts will be filled up with people charged for possession instead of being given warnings or cautions. Once again our young people will be given criminal records for nothing more than possession of a plant product - and those that risk growing cannabis for their own medical benefit will be threatened by prison.

And the increased cost on top of the billions of pounds sent annually policing cannabis, will be born by the taxpayer - yes readers, your tax bill is about to go up so we can arrest more victimless cannabis users.

As a taxpayer I object most strongly to this: as a voter I object most strongly to our Government ignoring the advice of a committee we have paid for.

I hope that this will encourage readers to write to our MP's as well as this letter page, and get this decision reversed before disaster strikes on top of disaster

yours faithfully
Alun Buffry




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